Blog: The Innovative Educator

3 Tips to Kickstart Your Writing Career After College

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019 - By Steve Gallagher

If you’re thinking about starting a writing career after college, here are 3 things you can do right now to get a headstart.

1. Start creating your portfolio

The most important tool when it comes to landing a writing job is your portfolio. Every employer will want to see some evidence of your writing ability before they hire you. That’s why you should start putting together a portfolio that showcases your very best work right now.

If you don’t have anything to put in your portfolio, there are lots of ways to get samples. The best samples are published samples - those that are actually being used in a publication. If you want to use them, they should be bylined, which means they attribute you as the author somewhere on the page.

You can get these bylined samples by reaching out to online blogs, magazines, and newspapers and pitching them a story or an article.

If that sounds like too much work, you can also put together a portfolio of your own unpublished samples. This might not be as impressive to your employer, but it’s definitely still valuable. Make sure to check out these extra tips on on how to start your writing career.

2. Read a lot

Writing is a skill that you hone through practice. Formal instruction can go only so far, the rest of your writing ability comes down to how much you write and, just as importantly, how much you read.

As you read other text, your brain will be picking up on all sorts of subtle literary devices and linguistic choices. If you read pieces written by excellent writers, you’ll pick up on what makes their writing excellent - subconsciously or consciously. Either way, the more often you do this, the more that will translate into your own writing abilities.

Read often, and you’ll be a better, more employable writer. 

3. Pick a niche and become an expert in it

Finally, you need to start thinking about your writing niche. What kind of a writer do you want to be? What topics do you want to write about? Are you looking to be a fiction writer? If so, what genre of stories do you want to pen? 

If you’re going down the non-fiction route, what kind of topics and niches will you focus on? Business writing, tech writing, academic writing, financial writing… I could go on.

Pick whatever niche you’d like to write about and become an expert in it. If you want to write about finance, start reading the financial times right now. Learn about stocks and shares and become an expert in all-things-finance. This will set you up well when it comes to landing a job in financial writing, and the same holds true for any other writing niche.